All good things are wild and free

sitting on the kerb

You were wild once, don’t let them tame you
Isadora Duncan

She sits on the kerb with her bare feet on the black tarmac of our cul-de-sac. She kicks her heels every now and again, puts her knees and ankles together,  hugs her legs. But her default position is feet at odd angles, elbow on one knee, hand propping up her chin.
Mia hates to wear shoes, or anything on her feet for that matter.
So her feet are black; always black. Best you don’t look to be honest, because it looks like she never washes them when in fact I’m constantly scrubbing at her nails and despairing of how the bottom of her feet are never ‘pink’ any more.

She’s clutching a tennis racquet in her hands, waiting for a friend to come and join her for a game of hitting the ball against the wall.
Like her toes, her fingernails are filled with dirt. Her hands are covered in felt pen from practising her times tables on the makeshift white board she’s created in her bedroom. Requests to stop using her hands to wipe old ink off falls on deaf ears. She has no time for the actual foam rubbers, fingers are much quicker.
As she sits there, she constantly rubs an eye or puts a hand near her mouth and I utterly despair.

Her hair is as nature intended; loose and free-flowing and blowing in the wind. No bands, or bobbles, no plaits, no bunches or pretty adornments. It looks like it was last brushed a week ago. It flops over her one eye so she has to move it every now and again with the back of one hand.
Just yesterday I blow dried it so it was sleek and shiny and fell like dark liquid down her back. And she tolerates it because she know it pleases me. But it’s not her. It’s not how she’s most comfortable.

She’s wearing denim shots and a vest. Nothing special, in fact, she probably chose it because it took seconds to put on and means she can either climb, run or play whatever the situation demands when her friend shows up.

Mia is a free spirit. She lives to the beat of her own drum.
It has been a huge parenting issue for us; she won’t listen, she’ll do the opposite of what you ask, she drifts off somewhere else when you’re talking to her.
She does that thing where she spins, round and round and round, her head flung back, her hair whipping around her cheeks, making herself dizzy. Getting high on life with her face turned to the sunshine as if she knows it will fill her with even more energy to do the things she loves.
And what she wants to do is climb trees, stomp through mud puddles, chase the dog, ride her bike, sit in the long grass. Things many eight year olds are now leaving behind as the lure of ‘girl stuff’ tugs at them.

Mia doesn’t want to paint her nails or do her hair, she wants to sit on the kerb and wait for someone to come along and play.
She looks so content. With her filthy feet and her scuffed knees.
This wild child doesn’t need taming, she needs nurturing. And as a parent I need to find a way to make it work for all of us, because this is her happy place.

NOTE: In case you recognise the title of this blog post, it’s a quote from American author Henry David Thoreau. 

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20 Responses to All good things are wild and free

  1. Weird Fish says:

    What a lovely picture.

  2. lauracymft says:

    Love this post. I think all kids should just be kids. Plenty of time for make up etc when they are in their late teens. Oh to be young again!
    My recent post Dublin Kite Festival

  3. mamaelsie says:

    At last … A youngster enjoying her freedom and her youth and the outdoors. It could almost be the 70s!!! No electronics required.

  4. EmmaK says:

    This sounds like a wonderful way to be!
    My recent post French Toast

  5. nappyvalleygirl says:

    Lovely post. Hope she stays young and innocent for as long as possible!

  6. I love this Tara that you adapt your parenting rathert than try and change her…now THAT is respecting your kids x
    My recent post Glorious Crete

  7. Tasha Goddard says:

    Rosemary is in between – she does the running barefoot and climbing and tumbling and she does weird and wonderful imaginative games. And then she walks off down the street with one of her peers and her walk changes, her head angle changes and she looks almost like a teenager. And she talks about painting her nails and having earrings and giggles about boys. And ten minutes later, she's trying to get the friend to climb a tree or a roll down a grassy hill. I think the transition may be a hard one 🙂

  8. Sarah says:

    I absolutely love this post.Your beautiful photograph and words really moved me. I have a daughter like that. I understand the great challenges, as well as the beauty of having such an incredible child.

    Your daughter is having the best kind of childhood and looks set to grow into a strong women, who will be confident in her own mind, with an adventurous spirit.
    My recent post The Photo Gallery | Breathe

  9. Amanda says:

    I adore this post.
    Such a wonderful, enjoyable childhood she is having
    My recent post The Weeks That Were

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